Presentations for Staff and Parents
Fear and silence still pervade our society and school community. Not only are students afraid to share their struggles, teachers and parents alike are afraid to speak up and seek much needed support. I saw it and felt it as a sufferer in 1998 when I first began teaching. After much healing and determination, I see it now more than ever in the people around me. Change is imperative. We need to be able to speak up and share our stories. With the right measures in play, healing can happen. I lived it, I proved it, I now share my story. No one should ever have to live a lie as I did, yet so many do. My story of hope and healing is one that resonates with staff, parents, and students of all ages. No one should ever feel that they are alone. We are not alone. We are there, only an arm-length from the ones who love and care for us. I reached and I healed from severe illness. I now make a difference in the lives of my family, my friends, and my colleagues. I am a survivor. I can now give hope to others.
My name is Chris Nihmey. I am a mental illness advocate, illness survivor, presenter, teacher, and author of four books including my memoir, Two Sides To The Story: Living A Lie, Chipmunka Publishing, UK, my battle with mental illness, which has sold well-over 2000 copies. Since its release in 2013, I have had the wonderful opportunity of speaking to students, staff, and parents throughout Ottawa and beyond about my story of hope, resilience, purpose, and healing. Healing CAN happen. We can speak time and time again about mental health, wellness, and stigma, but when a survivor shares their own life experiences, and their road to healing, the impact is profound. Attitudes and views change forever, as does compassion and acceptance for sufferers and their loved ones.
I lived a lie, hiding my illnesses for over a decade to avoid discrimination and prejudice. No one should have to do this. We all have a story to share. I now share mine. We are not alone.
“I am not the illness. I have an illness. SEE THE PERSON, not the illness.” -Chris Nihmey
Preparatory and Follow-Up Activities
This DOCUMENT outlines activities that members of your school community/organization/institutio
Time for Presentation: Approximately 1 hour
Presentation Fee: $400 for one presentation, $500 for two talks, $600 for three talks.
Creating Mental Health Awareness In The Workplace
Creating Mental Health Awareness In Our Schools and Homes
Since 2013, I have spoken at approximately 50 different schools and venues about my battle with mental illness and finding hope, purpose, and healing in my life. My feedback has been superlative. I continue to speak this school year. I would love to come out to speak to your staff or school community.
- Educating and understanding mental illness
- Inspiring hope, purpose, resilience, and healing - healing CAN happen
- Never give up, always look up - every step counts
- The utmost importance of loving support – empathy, acceptance, and compassion
- The dangers of stigma and the fight to eliminate it
This presentation opens up avenues for teachers and parents to step forward and receive help without prejudice or judgement. It also presents them with much needed up-to-date information on working with their students and their children in the home. Fear kept me from revealing my illnesses for well-over a decade, and this included my first two years of permanent teaching. Not one staff member knew. No parent, teacher, or child should ever fear speaking up. There is a need for compassion and acceptance for all sufferers, big and small, during a very busy and hectic school year. Let’s open up an awareness, a discussion of mental health and wellness: what it is, its signs, its effects, and why loving support is crucial for healing. The lines of communication must be open, among staff, and within our families. Let’s do this now. We are worth it. Open up our arms for colleagues, friends, and family. We are not alone. We can never feel this. Hope is there, and with hope comes healing.
We are all responsible for our school community and the people within it, especially those suffering from sickness, bullying, abuse or neglect, lacking the support that many of us have. This leads to suffering and in some instances, suicide. Taking your life is never a choice, but a decision impacted by circumstances within and around us. Reaching out to someone is. It is time to destroy the fear and shame that accompanies sickness. Until our loved ones feel they can safely step forward and share their stories without judgement and prejudice, sufferers will choose to hide and ultimately lose hope. They must know, deep down, that they are not alone. Every life matters. Hope and healing is a gift we all deserve.
Will I travel to your city? Most definitely. I would love to visit. There will be reasonable travelling expenses needed for trips that require 2 or more hours of driving. Thank you.
If you are interested in a visit, please click on the "Reserve Your Presentation Now" button. This will take you to my “Contact Chris” page.
"Chris recently came to Longue Sault PS to speak to my staff about his journey. He hit it out of the ballpark ... wow! My staff were blown away by his story and message which contained useful, research based information which can be used to support all public education stakeholders. I highly recommend Chris Nihmey as a professional speaker for any organization interested in increasing their capacity to properly support mental health in their workplace.
Kieran Kennedy, Principal, Upper Canada District School Board
"As part of a Parents Reaching Out Grant, I wanted to engage families in dialogue, awareness building, and learning about mental health and well-being. We were so fortunate to find Chris Nihmey! Chris presented to a group of parents, guardians and caregivers, alongside their children from Grades 4 - 6, at our Open House. His message of hope, compassion, and resilience was powerful and very well-received. Adults and students came away with a deeper understanding of stigma, how hurts don't go away, and how to show empathy and support others in positive, encouraging ways. I highly recommend Chris to your school community!"
Cynthia Seguin, Principal, UCDSB